Through the weekend of Feb. 17-19, Floyd Hall Arena hosted the Super East Collegiate Hockey League (SECHL) playoffs as six teams competed for the championship. William Paterson (26 points), New York University (26 points), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (22 points), New Hampshire University (20 points), Marist College (11 points) and Montclair State University (11 points), all faced off this weekend in hopes of proving to be northeast’s finest.
The first playoff game took place on Friday, Feb. 17 as the University of New Hampshire (UNH) suited up to play against Marist College. Earlier in the season when the two teams played each other, UNH defeated Marist twice and was once again victorious, as they moved forward to play New York University (NYU) on Sat. Feb. 18.
After UNH’s playoff victory over Marist, the ice was shaved down for the second game of the night, as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) faced off against Montclair State University. About two-minutes into the first period, RPI put one past Montclair State goaltender Bradley Odgers at the 1:45 mark to take the lead. Five-minutes later, RPI managed to sneak one past Montclair State’s defense and put the puck in the back of the net to gain the 2-0 advantage at the 7:39 mark. With frustration creeping up on the Red Hawks, forward Matt Cofrancesco scored the first goal for Montclair State with assists from Sal Demarzo and Garry Blight. Following Cofrancesco’s first goal, captain Chris Preziosi added another one for the Red Hawks updating the score to 2-2 off an assist from defenseman Kevin Brown. With plenty of action taking place in the first, Brown then received a two-minute interference minor, as the rest of the period remained tied.
With the second period underway the game appeared to be a pretty even battle, until RPI added another goal at the 9:02 mark of the second period. With the score being 3-2, it was any team’s game. As the puck dropped to begin the third period, RPI was soon penalized with a two-minute interference minor (9:10), so the Red Hawks of course tried to take advantage. Nonetheless, soon after their penalty, Preziosi was guilty of a cross checking minor (10:19) and nearly seconds after, RPI received another minor penalty (10:35).
Not too soon after RPI’s interference call, a dirty hit was exchanged on behalf of RPI, knocking captain Sam Enright down. Enright was not a fan of that hit and ultimately tried to stick up for himself and his team. The officials were not fond of Enright’s opinion, which cost Montclair State a ten-minute abuse of official’s misconduct. With only ten minutes left in the game, Enright was subjected to the penalty box as Preziosi skated out of it, hoping to tie up the game.
With plenty of strategic chances, RPI suffered from another interference minor (17:10) as the Red Hawks realized this was their only chance to at least tie the game in hopes of heading into overtime. The Red Hawks dumped pressure on to RPI’s defense and goaltending but ultimately did not have enough time as the twenty-minute mark of the third period hit.
With a final score of 3-2, the Montclair State men’s ice hockey team realized that their 2016-17 hockey season was officially over. The teams exchanged handshakes as RPI advanced to the next playoff game on Sat. Feb. 18 against the defending champions, William Paterson University (WPU).
As Saturday approached, the first game was between WPU and RPI.
William Paterson was looking to defend their title as SECHL champions and that’s exactly what they did. RPI suffered from a final score of 2-0, as WPU advanced to the championship game on Sun. Feb. 19.
Following WPU’s victory on Saturday, UNH faced off against NYU. The current 2016-17 season happens to be NYU’s last season in the Super East, as they will soon be moving up to the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division 1 next year. With a successful future ahead, NYU confidently defeated UNH and ending their playoff run, as they headed to Sunday’s final game against WPU.
On Sun. Feb. 19 at noon, the two best teams in the league faced off in the championship game. The William Paterson Pioneers were set to defeat the New York University Violets, but NYU had different plans. The game remained tight throughout, but the Pioneers suffered an unexpected 2-1 loss, as the Violets claimed the SECHL 2016-17 championship.